1 Page 1 of 19 Guide to the Rudolf Berliner and D. Graeme Keith records bulk Fleet Library at RISD 2 College Street Providence, RI Tel: Fax: Published in 2015
2 Page 2 of 19 Collection overview Title: Rudolf Berliner and D. Graeme Keith records Date range: , bulk Creator: Extent: Abstract: Language of materials: Repository: Berliner, Rudolf, Keith, D. Graeme (David Graeme), linear feet The collection documents the formation of the Decorative Arts Department and the activities of Curators Rudolf Berliner and D. Graeme Keith, , as well as other Museum employees, English, German, French Collection number: Scope & content The collection documents the formation of the Decorative Arts Department and the activities of Curators Rudolf Berliner and D. Graeme Keith, , as well as other Museum employees, The bulk of the collection contains correspondence, , bulk , with patrons, RISD employees, institutions, dealers, galleries, and family members documenting loans, purchases, exhibitions, research, travel, inventories, family, and administrative matters. Additional records include committee reports, inter-office memos, photographs, and speeches. There are a few records, , created by other Museum employees including Elizabeth T. Casey and Eleanor Fayerweather. Indices, , document the Berliner correspondence. The collection arrived at the Archives in a disorganized state with many letters misfiled according to Berliner's filing system documented in the Indices. The original order, per the Indices, was restored during processing. The folder arrangement follows a file cabinet list found in Series V.
3 Page 3 of 19 Arrangement The records are arranged in five series. I. Correspondence, , bulk II. Dealer correspondence, III. Subject files, IV. Department files, V. Indices, Biographical Note Rudolf Berliner, Rudolf Paul Berliner served as Curator of Decorative Arts, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Born in Ohlau, Germany 1886 April 14, Berliner studied at the University of Heidelberg and received his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna in 1910 under Josef Strzygowski and Max Dvorak. He served as a Research Fellow, , and Chief Curator, , at the Bavarian National Museum, Munich except for military service during World War One. Arrested and sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1933 July, Berliner was released after two weeks through the efforts of his professional colleagues. He retained his position in Munich until 1935 when he was purged because of his Jewish heritage. He and his wife Maria immigrated to the United States in 1939 July joining their two sons who had left Germany early for their education and safety. Records indicate that Berliner had traveled to the US in 1935, 1936, 1937, and Berliner obtained, with the assistance of Paul J. Sachs, the position of Keeper of Prints and Drawings, Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, New York in 1939, the same year that D. Graeme Keith joined the staff as an Assistant in Exhibitions. He left in 1946 because of the return of Curator Calvin S. Hathaway from his service in Europe, to become the first Curator of Decorative Arts at the RISD Museum of Art. His primary function was to survey, study, inventory, and catalogue the extensive decorative arts works that had been collected during the previous fifty years. He created the Textile Study Room for faculty and students and collected works through his extensive relationships with dealers, galleries, and collectors in Europe. He returned to Europe in 1951 and 1952 to purchase works with the aid of RISD benefactors. Berliner resigned taking a final leave of absence 1953 January-June and returned to Europe, living primarily in Rome and Germany and working on research projects. He
4 Page 4 of 19 returned to the US in 1955 joining the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 1956 to give seminars in decorative arts and the museum course. He worked at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C, from 1962 until 1967 when he returned to Germany. He died 1967 August 26 in Bischofswiesen near his family's home in Berchtesgaden. For a list of Berliner's writings see: Muller, Theodore. Rudolf Berliner: Bibliographie. Munich, (German/English) D. Graeme Keith, D. Graeme (David Alexander Graeme) Keith joined Berliner at RISD in 1948 as Assistant to the Curator after Director Gordon B. Washburn received a recommendation from Hathaway. Born in Toronto, Canada 1912 September 21, Keith received degrees from Western Reserve University, BA (1934) and MA (1935), attended Paul J. Sachs' Museum Course at Harvard, , and took courses toward a Ph. D at New York University, His doctoral research concerned the history of 19th century American printed textiles. He worked for the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts as a curator, , before joining Cooper Union in 1939/1940 to work with exhibitions and publicity. He became Acting Curator of Decorative Arts in 1953 upon Berliner's resignation. Keith served as Curator, , and taught Summer Sessions at the University of California, Berkeley in Keith left in 1958 to become Curator of Decorative Arts at the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, where he served until his retirement in He died in Port Townsend, WA 2003 July 14. Note: The following materials from the Paul J. Sachs papers are used by permission of the Harvard Art Museums Archives: Letter from Rudolf Berliner to Paul J. Sachs, December 22, Paul J. Sachs papers (HC 3), file 157. Harvard Art Museums Archives, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Letter from Rudolf Berliner to Paul J. Sachs, January 29, Paul J. Sachs papers (HC 3), file 157. Harvard Art Museums Archives, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Letter from Gordon B. Washburn to Paul J. Sachs, July 23, Paul J. Sachs papers (HC 3), file Harvard Art Museums Archives, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
5 Page 5 of 19 Access & use Access to the collection: Use of materials: The use of certain documents and collections may be restricted. Please consult the Archives staff for further details. Permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from archival materials must be obtained in writing from the Archives. The researcher assumes full responsibility for use of material and for conformity to all applicable laws, including copyright. Preferred citation: Rudolf Berliner and D. Graeme Keith records, , Contact information: Administrative information About the collection Fleet Library at RISD 2 College Street Providence, RI Tel: Fax: Aquisition: The Archives received the records from the RISD Museum of Art's Curator of Decorative Arts. About the finding aid Author: Finding aid prepared by Douglas Doe. Encoding: Finding aid encoded by Douglas Doe 2015 September 11 Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
6 Page 6 of 19 Search terms Names: Berliner, Rudolf, Keith, D. Graeme (David Graeme), Fayerweather, Eleanor, Casey, Elizabeth Temple, Maxon, John, Alford, Roberta M., Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), Schwarz, Heinrich, Danforth, Helen M., Subjects:
7 Page 7 of 19 Inventory Series I, Correspondence, The Correspondence series, , documents loans, exhibitions, research, purchases, potential gifts and acquisitions, rough drafts of reports and talks, and the Museum Committee. Correspondents include donors, institutions, Museum employees, professional colleagues, and family members. Photographs, illustrations, receipts, inventories, letters, and reports document Berliner's trips to Europe and his health issues, the Edith Wetmore Room, the Lucy T. Aldrich Collection of Staffordshire Pottery, Cooper Union, and Berliner and Keith's interaction with Museum employees, trustees, donors, galleries, and other institutions. There is correspondence from Berliner's son Michael Bever, Directors Gordon Washburn, Roberta Alford, and John Maxon, and curator Eleanor Fayerweather ( ) and Acting Curator Elizabeth T. Casey (1958). Berliner's correspondence is indexed. See Series V. Container Description Date 1 A - Miscellaneous A - Miscellaneous Abegg, Werner and Margaret Aldrich, Lucy T. and Winthrop Art Institute of Chicago B - Miscellaneous B - Miscellaneous Benisovich, Michel Berliner, Rudolf Berliner, Rudolf Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
8 Page 8 of Brooklyn Museum Burg, Mrs. Margaret C - Miscellaneous C - Miscellaneous Cooper Union Museum D - Miscellaneous D - Miscellaneous Delmar, Emil 1946 E - Miscellaneous E - Miscellaneous F - Miscellaneous F - Miscellaneous Fogg Museum of Art - Harvard de Frey, A. C G - Miscellaneous
9 Page 9 of 19 5 G - Miscellaneous Garbaty, Eugene L Greenleaf, Richard H - Miscellaneous H - Miscellaneous Hyde, James H I - Miscellaneous I - Miscellaneous Ikle, Fred C J - Miscellaneous J - Miscellaneous K - Miscellaneous K - Miscellaneous L - Miscellaneous L - Miscellaneous
10 Page 10 of Lewandowsky, George Los Angeles County Museum M - Miscellaneous Metropolitan Museum of Art de Micheaux, Robert 1954 Mooney, Kit N - Miscellaneous O - Miscellaneous O - Miscellaneous P - Miscellaneous R - Miscellaneous Rough Drafts circa S - Miscellaneous Sharpe, Mrs. and Mrs. Henry D., Ellen 1913,
11 Page 11 of 19 5 Syz, Dr. Hans T - Miscellaneous T - Miscellaneous Textile Museum, Washington D.C U - Miscellaneous U - Miscellaneous V - Miscellaneous W - Miscellaneous W - Miscellaneous Walters Art Gallery Weibel, Mrs. Adele Weinberger, Dr. Martin Westerfield, Mrs. Jason Wetmore, Miss. Edith Wetmore, Miss. Edith ,
12 Page 12 of Worcester Art Museum (Stout) 1952 Y - Miscellaneous Y - Miscellaneous Z - Miscellaneous 1957 Series II, Dealer correspondence, The Dealer correspondence, , contains letters, receipts and invoices for works of art, deaccession records, and shipping records. Letters may document loans, purchases, proposed acquisitions, research, costs of works of art, and deaccessions. The Gimbels - Deaccessions, , folder documents the work of the Committee on Disposal and contains lists of objects to be sold through Gimbel Brothers (NYC). Organized by department, the lists include the accession number, object description, acquisition (donor or purchase), and the expected price. The correspondence is indexed. See Series V. Container Description Date A - Miscellaneous 1951 Ars Antiqua 1951 Avigdor, Moustapha 1950 B - Miscellaneous Berges, S
13 Page 13 of Berry-Hill Blumpka, Leopold C - Miscellaneous Carlebach Gallery Connoisseur D - Miscellaneous Drey, F. A G - Miscellaneous Gans, Edward Gimbels - Deaccessions Haus, C. A J - Miscellaneous 1952 K - Miscellaneous Kelekian, Dikran G L - Miscellaneous Loewi, Adolph 1953
14 Page 14 of M- Miscellaneous 1946 Morley, Charles L R - Miscellaneous S - Miscellaneous Sack, Israel Schaeffer Galleries 1947 Schatzki, Walter 1948 Schulman, Hans 1947 Silberman Galleries Stora, R T - Miscellaneous V - Miscellaneous W - Miscellaneous 1951
15 Page 15 of 19 Series III, Subject files, The Subject files include Museum Committee meeting records ( ), inter-office memos ( ), department reports ( ), and sculpture photographs. The meeting records are primarily lists of gifts and rejected works with the curator's recommendation as well as a 1947 December 1 report of the future of the department written by Berliner. A separate file contains his 1948 February 26 report on the progress of the department. The exhibition records include correspondence, press releases, clippings, and ideas for future exhibitions. The inter-office memos from the Director and other staff document purchases, loans, budgets, travel, and staffing. Container Description Date Committee Meetings Committee Meetings 1948 Committee Meetings 1954 Committee Meetings Exhibitions - General Exhibitions - Stieglitz (Worcester Show) Exhibitions - Students , Exhibitions - Textiles Inter-Office Inter-Office Inter-Office 1949
16 Page 16 of 19 6 Inter-Office Inter-Office Inter-Office Miscellaneous Notes on Museum Objects undated Pending Disposal Progress Report 1948 Feb 26 Reports - Quarterly - Dec. Arts Reports - Semi-annual - Dec. Arts Sculpture - Photographs circa 1952 Textile Firms 1947 Series IV, Department files, The Department files is an artificial series comprised of records not found on the list of file cabinet contents (box 6, folder 23). The series includes correspondence, lists, photographs, and reports for the Rhode Island Treasures/Hobby Show ( ), World of 1930s (1956) and Modern Interior Design ( ) exhibitions, Rudolf Berliner's expenses for his 1952 trip to Europe, and the Wetmore Room donated to the Museum of Art by Edith Wetmore. Elizabeth T. Casey's correspondence ( ) includes letters to Lucy T. Aldrich and accounts of Aldrich's loans to the Museum. Other records document routine administrative matters and gifts or metalwork (circa ) and oriental art works (undated).
17 Page 17 of 19 Container Description Date 16 Basketry undated Casey, Elizabeth T. - Letters Equipment European Trip Expenses (Berliner) 1952 Ledgers (partial) Library Books undated 22 Manuscripts Material for Card File Material Used for Textile Design Class Metalwork undated undated circa Miscellaneous ? Modern Interior Design Exhibition Mounting Materials
18 Page 18 of 19 1 Museum Notes - Subscriptions Museum Registrar - Receipts for Potential Gifts New England Craft Exhibition New York Trip 1948 Oct 25 5 Oriental Objects undated 6 Rhode Island Treasures / Hobby Show Textiles - Photographs , Vittoria Bust Wetmore Room , World of 1930s Exhibition 1956 Series V, Indices, The Indices, , document incoming and outgoing correspondence chronologically. Each incoming letter has a number (for example, ) and the responding outgoing letter has the same number. The indices list the number, date, correspondent, subject, and file location. The series includes an alphabetical index, , listing the correspondent and all corresponding letter numbers and separate alphabetical indices for 1951 and The is an accessions index, , listing by Museum Committee meeting date all accessions with number, description, price, dealer, gallery, or donor, and source of funds. Container Description Date 11 Indices Jan
19 Page 19 of Indices 1948 Jan-1949 Jan Indices 1949 Indices 1950 Indices - Alphabetical Indices 1951 Indices 1952 Visitors Museum Committee - Accessions Preliminary Accession Sheets 1947 Theses Students Registrar Cards File Cabinet undated